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How do I juggle my business and children, and keep us all happy?!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
By Cheryl Price
How do I juggle my business and children, and keep us all happy?!

School’s out for summer!

After what seems like a very long term, and a ton of leavers do’s and activities, we have finally broken up for the summer holidays!  

I’ve spent the last month or so both dreading and looking forward to the 5 ½ weeks of school holidays. Trying to juggle work and the kids never seems to work out how I want and I’m usually left feeling guilty somehow.

I guess in a way I’m quite lucky that my two usually go to their dads for half of the holidays so that cuts down the amount of juggling, however this is the first year of navigating 5 kids and work over the summer holidays.  

I am also quite lucky that I can bring the kids into work with me and they are quite happy to bring some toys/books/iPads with them to keep them amused.  My two are quite used to this now, and I’m sure some of you have seen at least one of them in the office with me at some point!  I actually think it’s good for the kids to see me in the work environment, so they can see and appreciate what we do, and how hard we work to provide for them.  

This year we will be juggling in a number of ways.  Some days the kids will be in the office with us for the morning, and we can then spend some quality time together in the afternoon.  We will also be working from home at times (like when I have all 5 together!), and I will also be utilising a great kids club at a local school for a few days, which the kids love to attend (win win!!).  The few child free days I have I’ll be working an extra few hours in the office.

Whilst researching options I came across some great tips:

  • get up an hour earlier and get some work done before the kids get up, or work after the kids have gone to bed
  • find a childcare buddy – someone who can have your kids for a few days and you’ll have theirs, so you can both get some work done 
  • ask grandparents to help out if they can – according to a study grandparents who babysit tend to live longer (https://www.nhs.uk/news/older-people/grandparents-who-babysit-tend-to-live-longer/) sell them the benefits – you’re actually helping them haha SmilePlus they are also entitled to extra benefits from the government (https://moneyweek.com/benefits-for-grandparents-babysitting/) double win Smile
  • set expectations – let your customers know when you are and aren’t working
  • if trying to arrange meetings, do your customers have children too? – if so meet with the kids, go to the park or a child friendly place so the kids can play together, and you can cover what you need to (I’ll be doing this at least once over the holidays!)
  • set boundaries with the kids (if they are old enough to understand), explain that mummy is having some work time, so they’ll have to occupy themselves for a little while, but once you have finished you’ll do something together
  • have a plan of what you’d like to achieve over the holidays – both workwise and things you’d like to do with the kids.  Try to plan so you can cover all of these things – prioritise the work stuff to ensure you get everything you need to do done and leave the stuff that can wait until the kids are back at school, so you don’t feel guilty when you can’t cross everything off on your to do list
  • delegate – what work things can you delegate?  Look through your to do list and delegate everything that you can.  Yes, it may cost you some money, but it will give you precious time back with your kids and put less pressure on yourself to get everything done.

I also found these great resources that you may find helpful:

  • one of our clients runs https://www.kidaround.biz which is a great website full of information on childcare, clubs, events, days out etc in the local area.  I’m sure you can find lots of things on here to keep your little ones entertained (and you sane!). 
  • Alison Edgar has put together ‘The Summer Holidays Survival Guide’ which I know a few of my friends are using.  It’s all free and involves tips and tools for juggling, ideas to keep the kids entertained as well as a Facebook community full of mum’s also juggling.  It’s definitely worth looking at https://alisonedgar.com/the-summer-holiday-survival-guide-demo/

So, in the interest of setting expectations – apart from the week of the 20th– 24thAugust when we are taking the kids away for our first holiday as a family of 7 (eek!), I will be working to some degree.  We will update our out of office on a weekly basis to keep clients up to date.  I have a few other days planned with the kids but will be able to answer urgent emails/calls on the mobile.  The office will not be manned every day, however at least one of us will always be working be it in the office or from home – except for Monday 13thAugust when we will be visiting Xero’s Milton Keynes Head Office (so excited!), but again, I’ll be on the mobile for any urgent matters.

Working mainly with other parents I know most of our clients are in a similar position as myself and the team for the next few weeks, so that really does take the pressure off (thank you all for being so understanding).  Ultimately though I’m sure most of us set up our own business for similar reasons and being able to be flexible over the holidays was one of them. Our cients will respect that fact and realistically we all probably put more pressure on ourselves than necessary.

Wishing you all a fantastic summer.  Hope you get to make some amazing memories with your little ones, and also get a chunk of your to do list crossed off.  If all fails and things do not go to plan, don’t stress – grab the wine (or gin) and go with the flow, tomorrow is another day Embarassed

If you’d like to take the stress of your accounts away over the holidays (and beyond) drop us an email to how we can help hello@chaccountancy.co.uk

                                  In the school playground      Last Day of School      Boys at school gates